Under pressure to withdraw complaints, says JNU students
The complainants, all of whom are pursuing research under Johri at the School of Life Sciences, said it has taken them immense courage to speak up.delhi Updated: Mar 22, 2018 00:03 IST
Five of the eight Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, who accused professor Atul Johri of sexual harassment, on Wednesday claimed they were under pressure from various sources to withdraw their complaints.
The complainants, all of whom are pursuing research under Johri at the School of Life Sciences, said it has taken them immense courage to speak up.
The students rejected claims made by Johri’s lawyer that the professor had warned them against their irregular attendance over email and that the students’ had filed “false FIRs” against him to stop him from taking any action against them.
“Two of the eight students finished their studies before the attendance rule came, so the lawyer’s argument is pointless. Also, we have attendance sheets and documents to prove that we attended classes,” one of the complainants said while addressing a press conference on Wednesday.
The students presented purported attendance sheet with the names of the women students blanked out to hide their identity. They also claimed they have documents signed by Johri that allowed them to avail lab equipment and scholarship, which is only possible if they attend the laboratory.
“We had thought that after the December 16 movement, cases of sexual harassment were taken seriously but yesterday Johri was given bail in few minutes. We were shocked by this,” the second complainant said.
The five students had their face covered with a scarf to hide their identity.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Assembly passed a resolution on Wednesday asking the government to provide all possible assistance to victims of the alleged molestation case in JNU by appointing special public prosecutors.
The Assembly condemned the “lethargic attitude of the Delhi Police” in filing FIRs based on the victims’ complaints.
“Some people are trying to give a political colour by saying that we belong to Left-wing student parties but the truth is most of us are members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). We are speaking up because we don’t want any more girls to face what we have,” the complainant said.
The students demanded that Johri be suspended immediately so that he could not influence the investigation.
Vijay Kumar, a member of ABVP JNU unit, said the women students were sympathiser of the students’ party and had attended many functions organised by the ABVP. “Our demand is same that Johri should be suspended and then inquiry be conducted against him,” he said.
Johri was not available for a comments.